Powerball’s high prize is $500 million. This 12 months, $2 billion was gained


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The happiness of New Years Day could add a few hundred million dollars to a Powerball player.

No ticket matched all six numbers drawn on Wednesday, which means the jackpot has gone up higher: it is now $ 500 million for the Saturday night draw, up from $ 441 million. The grand prize has increased since October 4th – 37 draws with no winners – when someone hit a jackpot of $ 699.8 million.

While that means the 2021 Powerball draws are over, six jackpots totaling $ 2 billion have been won this year, ranging from $ 23.2 million to $ 731.1 million.

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Of course, the advertised jackpot amount reflects what you would get if you claimed the prize as an annuity in 30 installments over 29 years – and almost all jackpot winners opt for the reduced lump sum option.

This year’s winners were no different: they all opted for instant cash, which adds up to $ 1.4 billion.

But that’s still not what the winners ended up with. First, a state withholding tax of 24% is applied. That levy reduced the total by $ 336 million, leaving the winners with just over $ 1 billion.

Since the top tax rate is 37%, additional federal taxes would generally also be payable. And there would be state taxes unless you live where lottery winnings aren’t taxed.

The Mega Millions jackpot is $ 221 million ($ 159.6 million cash option) for the final drawing of the year, which is scheduled for Friday night. In 2021, the game has spawned six jackpot winners so far, with the total advertised prize being $ 2.3 billion. The collective cash option was $ 1.6 billion, and the 24% federal tax withholding reduced that by $ 384,000 to $ 1.2 billion.

Regardless, the take home amounts are more than most people see in their lifetime. According to a study by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, the average lifetime income of workers across all jobs and degrees is $ 1.7 million.

The chance that a single ticket will hit the jackpot in either game is slim: 1 in 292 million for Powerball and 1 in 302 million for Mega Millions.

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